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Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

It’s as if Hot Tub Time Machine 2 knows and accepts that it’s an utterly superfluous sequel, so much so that there is only one character in the entire film that keeps things on track, constantly telling the others they need to focus.

That would be Jacob, played by the exceptionally funny Clark Duke, whose father Lou (Rob Corddry), having achieved wealth and fame by taking great ideas and traveling through time to use them first, is shot and almost killed. Because he is attacked during a lavish party, the father and son, alongside fellow time traveler Nick (Craig Robinson) need to get back in the tub to find the murderer and stop the crime before it happen.

That’s it; that’s the plot. They end up in the future, and that allows for jokes about smart cars, new outfits, and the degradation of reality TV to play out. Hot Tub Time Machine 2, however, doesn’t hit for average, instead at times nailing the funniest of jokes and at others missing completely.

When it’s on, for instance any time the trio of quick-witted men is riffing and making fun of each other, the film is really on. But for much of it, and indeed anytime the least bit related to the plot, it’s completely forgettable.

The newcomer here is Adam Scott, assuming the role of the nephew of John Cusack’s character in the first film (he seems to have wisely passed her), a chaste yuppie set to get married having never done anything the least bit exciting. So of course when Lou and company show up, with their penchant for drugs, sex, and all around chicanery, his life turns into a drug trip.

Which is what the movie feels like at times: an exhausting, uncomfortable drug trip from which there is no escape. It’s not necessarily that this film, one that has the same director and writer as the first, is bad, it’s just so tangential and weak. As funny as they are, Corddry and Robinson cannot led a comedy, in part because their characters are completely devoid of anything the least bit likeable. That leaves Jacob to sort of keep things together.

Chevy Chase and Jason Jones show up for a few laughs, and Gillian Jacobs appears as Adam’s equally pure wife. But it’s a film full of supporting actors wherein that which is memorable is secondary to any story. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is more or less one hilariously funny six-minute skit stretched across an hour and a half with awkward sexual encounters and potent futuristic drugs.

[star v=15]

Scene Creek

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